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French director Boon's comedy hits theaters

By Xu Fan | China Daily | Updated: 2017-12-07 07:55
French actor-director Boon with actress Alice Pol, who stars as the female police trainee in the upcoming film Raid Dingue, in which he plays a role as well. [Photo provided to China Daily]

To get firsthand details, Boon trained with RAID operatives for six months, building up his muscle mass and losing around 12 kilograms in the process.

He was with them when several deadly terrorist attacks took place in Europe, he says.

"They are amazing heroes, saving lives and protecting our freedom. They are so courageous and at the same time so humble. They deserved not only a successful comedy but also a true story about their bravery," says Boon.

With a keen interest in Chinese cinema, Boon reels off a dozen names, from action giants Jackie Chan and Jet Li, and award-winning directors Zhang Yimou and Ang Lee, to star comedians Ge You and Stephen Chow.

"In a certain way, I've been influenced by Chan's movies. I've loved him since I was a child. He is one of the best at mixing action with comedy," Boon observes.

A surprise: His favorite Chinese movie is the art-house drama starring Li Baotian Courthouse on Horseback (released with the title The Last Travel of Judge Feng in France), a serious tale about a judge in his 50s dealing with legal disputes in the mountainous villages of Yunnan province. The movie is even less well-known among Chinese moviegoers.

Earlier this year, his movie Raid Dingue held its international premiere at the 7th Beijing International Film Festival. Boon attended many of the screenings, and was seen taking photos of Chinese audiences in fits of laughter.

"Laughter is very important in your (Chinese) culture. I'd love to work with Chinese filmmakers. What we need is to find the right project and write a great screenplay that could please both Chinese and French audiences," he says.

Yet to encounter such an opportunity, Boon continues to focus on more familiar territory: by exploring the humor arising from family conflicts inspired by real-life situations.

His next movie is about a successful Parisian designer who is ashamed about his childhood, and his simple, proletarian family from northern France.

"He lies and pretends to be an orphan, until his mother goes to Paris to celebrate her 80th birthday followed by the whole family. It's due to be released in Europe in February," says the director.

Speaking about Hollywood, the powerful rival that seems to concern most Chinese filmmakers, Boon says his French counterparts are less influenced by the United States.

"We have a rich and diversified film industry in France, with a great system of financing. The big blockbusters pay a special tax to help finance smaller, independent productions, so moviegoers in France are used to being able to choose from different types of movies," he explains.

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